Communal, Familial Righteousness

Bock, commenting on Luke 17:3, states the following (bold mine):

Two fundamental relational commitments are expressed in the exhortations to rebuke and forgive. First, disciples are to share in each other’s commitment to pursue righteousness. Thus, Jesus exhorts them to rebuke a believer who sins, not because he wishes disciples to meddle in the affairs of others, but because he wishes the community to desire righteousness that results in accountability to one another for the way they walk. Such exhortations are common in the NT (Matt. 18:15–18; Luke 6:37; Gal. 6:1 [a key text that warns against spiritual smugness as this process is carried out]; 1 Thess. 5:14–15; 2 Thess. 3:14–15; Titus 3:10). Second, disciples are not to pursue their spirituality in isolation from one another. For Jesus, faith is not merely a private affair, but something the community pursues together. The community of believers is a family in the sense that the best interests of each member is a concern of each other member. Thus, the call to rebuke is the exercise of a familial responsibility (Lev. 19:17 is similar; Plummer 1896: 400). The assumption in all of this is that disciples have a certain quality in their relationships that allows this type of positive, honest, loving, confronting behavior to occur without destroying their relationships (Manson 1949: 139).

Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke Volume 2: 9:51–24:53. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1387). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

He further adds:

The community is not a legalistic association but one committed to righteousness and to building up members into restored relationships. A central element in that restoration is the ability to forgive, which allows people to move past their failures. Jesus will emphasize in 17:4 that such forgiveness is to be available on a repeated basis.

Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke Volume 2: 9:51–24:53. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (1387–1388). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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